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Organizational Communication
Chapter 4 Outline
Systems Approaches
• Organizations are complex organisms that
must interact with their environment to
• We should not look at how we should behave
in organizations, rather wee need to look at
how we should study them.
3 Components of a System
• Hierarchical Ordering
- Example: General Manager, Manager, Employees
• Interdependence
- Parts of a system and people will depend on each
other in order for a system to work.
• Permeability
- Allows material to flow in and out of a system.
System Processes
Input --->Throughput ---> Output
Example: Humans eat,
digest, and produce
System Properties
• Holism - The system needs to be looked at as a
• Equifinality - in order to reach a goal there is more
than on way to get there.
• Negative Entropy - When new pieces are added to a
system or taken away it will not shut down.
• Requisite Variety- The process that needs to be used
and is used to a degree and level of difficulty as the
system itself.
Cybernetics Theory
Currently there are four different goals that
are found in this theory.
1. System Goal - Is the actual goal
2. Mechanisms - Different companies will use
different methods and mechanisms to help
reach the company goal.
1. Feedback - Receiving positive and/or negative feed
back - which can and does include friends, advisors
and many others.
2. New Mechanism - If the individual or the organism
is not completing the goal then it is possible that a
new mechanism may be needed to complete the
Cybernetics Process
Example #1
System Goal -------->Feedback-------> New Mechanism
Example #2
Ecological Change -------->Enactment------->Selection(Assembly rules
and communication styles)--------> Retention
Karl Weick’s Theory of
• Goal of organizing = Reduction of uncertainty
• Ecological Changes = Changes that will
happened within the organization
• Enactment = People will process the
information differently.
Weick Cont.
• Selection = The person/people will decide how to
handle the problem
• Retention = Remembering the problem and taking it
into consideration if encountered again.
• Assembly Rules = The Rules of a corporation;
Handbook, company policies
Henry Taylor's Theory of
Classical Management
Elements of Planning
1. Plan
2. Organize
3. Command
4. Coordination
5. Control
Taylor’s Theory Cont.
• Principals of Management
1. Scalar Chain
2. Unity of Command
3. Division of Labor
4. Order
5. Span of Control
Council of Communication
• Miller, Katharine; Organizational
Communication. Approaches and Processes;
Chapter 4. 2004